In June 2021 Derwen College received the Tes FE Award for Specialist Provider of the Year in the top awards which recognise those that work in further education.
Staff and students were delighted to receive such fabulous news during what has been an incredibly challenging year.
Judges praised Derwen College for doing everything in our power to continue our mission to create a world without barriers for our students with SEND, even during a pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, we didn’t just survive: we thrived! Staff across curriculum, care and support came together with parents, carers, supporters and industry partners. We ensured that work, independence skills, health, fitness, sports and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award all continued. Though, often in different ways.
We set up our brand new on-site charity shop The Vintage Advantage. We launched an online eBay shop and a new takeaway service for staff and students. This ensured that work placements for students continued.
Staff worked tirelessly to host annual events virtually, including open days, sports day, competitions, a prom and graduation ceremony.
Derwen College even opened a new Telford campus as planned in September 2020. This site delivers much-needed provision to students with SEND in the area.
Commitment and creativity
Our Chair of Governors Kathleen Kimber said:
“We have long been proud of how Derwen works with its students and their achievements never fail to amaze us. Recently the staff have gone above and beyond what could have been expected of them. Their commitment and creativity during long periods when students were having to isolate in bubbles here or spend time at home have been outstanding.
“What has been striking is that student engagement and enjoyment have been very evident. There has been a sense of fun. New ventures have been successfully launched, either to offer an alternative to work experience off-site or to bring to fruition a planned development, such as the opening of the new satellite at Telford. Thank you to all the staff; well done to all students. We know we shall build further on this.”
Year of triumphs
Derwen College Principal and CEO Meryl Green said:
“I would like to say a huge thank you to every single member of staff at Derwen College. This award recognises the commitment, imagination, passion and resilience of staff across College campuses. It has been a year of triumphs for the college during some challenging times. We are honoured to have been recognised by judges who are experts in the field of education. The Specialist Provider of the Year category has many contenders of an impressive calibre who have all worked tirelessly to support people with SEND in further education. We couldn’t be happier to have received an award of such high esteem.”
Tes FE Awards 2021 lead judge Lynette Barrett said:
“During such adverse and difficult times, this college has shown how it has remained focused on student achievements and outcomes. The pandemic did not hold this college back; it initiated new projects, which meant student outcomes could be achieved, and learners remained safe and engaged in their education.
“The staff worked relentlessly to remain open and create new ways of working, which allowed some of the most vulnerable young people in society to achieve their outcomes without compromise.”